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Need Advice - Upgrade a Virtuoso, buy a Preciso, buy a Vario
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beer_guzzler
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Apr 2009
Posts: 7
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Oct 16, 2013, 7:38pm
Subject: Need Advice - Upgrade a Virtuoso, buy a Preciso, buy a Vario
 

Hey guys,

I need suggestions. I currently own a Baratza Virtuoso that I have been using for about 5 years. When I first got it worked great but has recently started to suffer. My espresso pours are now streams and I am lucky to get to 20 seconds on my Gaggia Classic. I was going to simply order new burrs ($3 plus ungodly S&H) but discovered they have an upgrade kit to add Preciso burrs and gear for $65. I make a triple shot using a bottomless triple basket every day with an occasional foray into French Presses. I also like siphons and may buy one as an additional alternative.

Should I spend the $65+S&H on the upgrade? Or should I just buy a new grinder and keep my existing Virtuoso for non-espresso?

If buying a new grinder, where is the sweet spot in the $300 range?

I notice refurb Varios for $360, refurb Precisos for $239, or a new Gaggia MDF for $200.

Could use some opinions. I am tight on money but could afford it and I do love a proper espresso. Even more, I love a proper ristretto (I used to be able to make them correctly on my Virtuoso at max fine settings, but its been awhile since the ristretto came out correct). MY virtuoso is already adjusted for fine grinds and the shims are all set to finest grind, it has ground massive amounts of coffee (I used to serve multiple coffees per day to several people).

The PReciso looked attractive with tis ability to have micro adjustments in between settings as I grind all kinds of stuff. Mostly single origin and custom blends - love Kona, Maragogype, Jam Blue Mtn, SUmatra Mandehling in dark roast, etc. Most of my roasts are darker and therefore more oily. I use a weight scale and dislike portafilter holders as I grind by weight.

Opinions appreciated! I am gravitating towards my French Press more and more often but I miss my espressos!
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sherpakid
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Mar 2006
Posts: 112
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Quickmill Silvano
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Virtuoso
Drip: Chemex, Aeropress, Clever...
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 1:39am
Subject: Re: Need Advice - Upgrade a Virtuoso, buy a Preciso, buy a Vario
 

beer_guzzler - I wouldn't put any money in upgrading the Virtuoso. The problem with using the Virtuoso for espresso is that lacks the micro-adjustment to really dial in your espresso. The steps between the settings on the Virtuoso are too big to adjust your grind as needed for espresso. I would bypass the Preciso and go with the Vario. I've owned Baratza grinders for years and recently had a Preciso. The Preciso was a great grinder when it was working, but I had issues with stripped gears and broken adjustment rings. I kept extra parts on hand so I could fix the Preciso myself instead of having to ship it in when it broke. I finally upgraded to a Vario and it's been great so far.

I'd keep the Virtuoso for drip coffee and get a Vario for espresso only.

 
www.nobletreecoffee.com
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tglodjo
Senior Member
tglodjo
Joined: 16 Oct 2012
Posts: 209
Location: Jackson, TN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Virtuoso
Drip: Wave, V60, Chemex, Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 5:01am
Subject: Re: Need Advice - Upgrade a Virtuoso, buy a Preciso, buy a Vario
 

Since you'll be using the grinder for espresso, I'd go with the Vario. You can usually find them on eBay new for $350 (with the best offer option). $360 for a refurb from Baratza is a great price too. I agree with sherpakid on bypassing the Preciso. I'm sure you'll be super pleased with the Vario, and it gives you plenty of micro adjustments to truly dial in your grind. Definitely keep the Virtuoso for pour over and french press! (If you grind by weight, you may want to consider upping your budget a little and getting the Vario-W. It has completely spoiled me!)
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LJSquishy
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Oct 2013
Posts: 27
Location: Spokane, WA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 8:18am
Subject: Re: Need Advice - Upgrade a Virtuoso, buy a Preciso, buy a Vario
 

I can't really make a good suggestion on what you should do, but I just got my Vario yesterday and it's pretty amazing how wide the range is for espresso (I'm brand new to espresso at home).

I purchased mine through Overstock and got a great deal:

Baratza Vario Grinder
$449.99
- 10% off first Overstock purchase (if you've already purchased on Overstock before, sometimes they have other 10% off coupons available)
- 5% Ebates cashback (limited time...otherwise it's 2% cashback)
= $384.74 (no tax, free shipping) for a brand new unit.

Then, if you sign up for the O-Club for free, you will get $22.50 in Overstock credit to use on a future purchase. So, all said and done, $362.24 for a new Vario.

I also purchased my Breville Dual Boiler through Overstock and have already confirmed that both Breville and Baratza honor the manufacturer's warranty even when purchased on Overstock.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,026
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Thu Oct 17, 2013, 8:39am
Subject: Re: Need Advice - Upgrade a Virtuoso, buy a Preciso, buy a Vario
 

Preciso refurb is fine with Gaggia Classic.  If your budget allows for a Vario, I would probably do that, but am happy with my Preciso.  The Preciso will stay in range for ristretto.  I use about 17 gms coffee for 30 gms espresso.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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beer_guzzler
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Apr 2009
Posts: 7
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Oct 18, 2013, 6:36am
Subject: Re: Need Advice - Upgrade a Virtuoso, buy a Preciso, buy a Vario
 

Thankws for the advice everyone, I just ordered the Vario.

LJSquishy thank you so much, I found a different combo of specials:

$449 for Vario
- $40 off $350 Coupon
-----------------------------
$409 shipped free

- $22 (5% eBates Cashback)
- $20.50 Club-0 Free Trial Overstock.com credit
- $25 paying with V.me

----------------------------------
$342 once you factor in everything (excluding my credit card rewards).

Granted I made one mistake, the 10% from joining Club O would have been worth $5 more in discount. Oh well, I can use it on something else I suppose.
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beer_guzzler
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Apr 2009
Posts: 7
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Nov 13, 2013, 6:25am
Subject: Re: Need Advice - Upgrade a Virtuoso, buy a Preciso, buy a Vario
 

Well several weeks after I got my Vario I am pretty happy with it. Its amazingly good for espresso with alot of fine tuning capability in the espresso range. The one I received was set to super fine so I run it at 4b and it slows my Gaggia to a crawl (30 seconds for double espresso shot, 45 for a triple with stnadardized pressure on the tamping) - the oil is completely extracted to the surface of the shot. It can do ristretto with a specific setting (have to avoid choking the Gaggia) or espresso with a rage of settings.

It is definitely the grinder du jour for espresso, ood recommendation guys. So much of the work I was doing adjusting with massive pressure is handled by the correct grind.
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